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Are you a purple cow? Case Study: How to use social media to differentiate your business from the crowded paddock

Jessica Graham - Friday, June 24, 2011

A few weeks ago I attended a networking seminar where online boutique Shoes of Prey entrepreneur Jodie Fox spoke about the inspiration behind her custom-made shoe manufacturing business and the key role social media played in helping to build their loyal customer base

The key take-aways were:

  • Always remember that your customers have a choice - as a brand, you need to be personally relevant online or your target audience won't be engaged. The onus is on the brand to inspire the customer, and that can't be achieved by a one-sided advertisement spruiking your products.
  • The Purple Cow theory - Imagine you are driving past a field of cows, how much notice do you really take? Now imagine that same field of brown cows, but this time there is a purple one grazing smack bang in the middle! - would you stop the car, or turn around to take a closer look? Of course you would!What are you currently doing to differentiate your business from the crowd?
  • Customer service is a marketing expense, NOT an operations expense - with the rise of online networking, brands really can't afford for a customer to have a bad experience as more than likely they will vent online to their network; yet visa versa if you provide a fantastic service, their personal recommendation can act as a powerful advertisement for your products.
  • Constantly run searches on twitter and facebook for mentions of your company - how can you be an ambassador for your brand if you aren't aware of what is being said about you in the marketplace? Don't ignore negative comments - address these personally and turn a negative into a positive.
  • Measure everything you do - nothing is anecdotal, and a huge advantage of social media is that it is a highly visible marketing tool - you can instantly see what is working for you and what is not.

As she spoke it was obvious how passionate Jodie is about her business, and more importantly how the daily interaction she strives to have with her customers on a personal basis through sites like twitter, facebook and direct email really do set Shoes of Prey apart from their competition.

It got me wondering how other businesses engage with their market online - Do you? If so, how? What has worked? And what hasn't?


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